Emerging Leaders

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Target Audience:  Professionals new to supervisory positions, or those ready to assume a supervisory role within their organization.  Applicants should have been identified as a skilled and capable professional ready to assume the first time leadership role in their organization.  Must minimally be at the level of comprehension and understanding identified in the pre-requisite content areas of the program. 

Program Intent:  This is an intensive learning journey and requires focused attention to the curriculum.  This is not intended to be a series of educational sessions, but a learning journey where content is connected and builds on each week’s learning.  Individuals with excess of three years’ supervisory experience may not be a good fit for this program.  Content areas are those aligned with the national certification plan and national accreditation program for parks and recreation agencies.  The content areas identified will be continued through to the Abrahams-Jones Academy.

Delivery Format and Attendance Requirements:  This program is delivered in a virtual environment, and applicants must have access to the Zoom meetings platform, and have a computer with a camera and microphone.  Applicants are expected to be in attendance on the zoom meetings platform as if they were in-person at an education session.  Applicants cannot be performing regular work duties while attending Institute programs.  The Institute requires a commitment from the individual attendee and the attendee’s supervisor that time will be allocated for the attendee to be fully present and attentive during sessions. 

Please note, class topics/speakers are subject to change.

Sessions will occur each Thursday from noon – 1:30 p.m. EST beginning March 3 and concluding April 28, 2022.

SESSION 1:  March 3, 2022
Introduction and Welcome; Assessment and Personal Vision
Becky Gunter, Director, Seminole Recreation
This interactive workshop will guide participants through an exploration of the strengths they have to offer and how to put those to work. Using results from a personal assessment as a jumping off point, each participant will learn more about their competitive edge, create plans to use and develop their strengths to achieve professional goals, and also see others that they work with in a new light. Not only does this help staff better understand themselves individually, but also through group activities, it helps teams form more understanding as well.

Reading: Strength Based Leadership and complete the Assessment (book provided with registration)


SESSION 2:  March 10, 2022

Building Organizational Culture 
Eleanor Warmack, Executive Director, Florida Recreation and Park Association
As an emerging leader, understanding the culture of your agency is critical.  Culture is not just about your mission statement, it is about the values that you as a leader instill in your team and how those values are integrated into all facets of what you do, how you do it, and why you do it.  Culture not communicated and not visible in an organization’s workforce is a recipe for lack of team commitment and often contributes to confusion and lack of performance.

SESSION 3:  March 17, 2022
Change Management
T. Michael Stavres, Assistant City Manager, City of Winter Haven
In·san·i·ty /in’sanƏdē/ - Doing the same thing you’ve always done and expecting different results. 
The only constant in our world is change, and as the environment around us changes, so must our operations, services, and processes.  But leading change can be just as uncomfortable as the change itself.  This session will give insight to understanding change, how to strategically plan for it, how to successfully implement it, and the skills needed to be an effective change agent.


SESSION 4:  March 24, 2022
Decision Making, Strategic Thinking and Planning
T. Michael Stavres, Assistant City Manager, City of Winter Haven
Leaders are asked to make many decisions in their day to day work.  While some allow the luxury of time to prepare and analyze, others must be made quickly.  Is your brain trained to think quickly and think of everything necessary to make sound decisions and recommendations?  Your staff is depending on you to make the best decisions, are you ready?

SESSION 5:  March 31, 2022
People Management: From Greetings to Goodbyes: How to find the right people, keep the right people and ensure those who are not right, transition away. 
Marie Knight, Knight Leadership
In today’s war for talent, we need to be sure we are RIGHT: Are we recruiting the RIGHT people and ensuring they are doing the RIGHT things at the RIGHT time for the RIGHT reasons, and at the same time, ensuring people making the wrong choices are moved on. 


SESSION 6:  April 14, 2022
Communication: Ninety percent of what you are saying isn’t coming out of your mouth!
Marie Knight, Knight Leadership
As leaders it is critical that we not only understand the power of clear, concise, and professional communication, also know that even though the burden of understanding lies with the receiver, it is our job as the messenger to eliminate the margins for misunderstandings.


SESSION 7:  April 21, 2022
Transitioning to the Next Level
Kevin Pickard, Director, Sunrise Leisure Services
It is often difficult to transition into management within the same organization.  This session will focus on the key components of transitioning into management including the changing of roles and responsibilities along with interpersonal dynamics.


SESSION 8:  April 28, 2022
Bringing It All Together
Institute Faculty
Over seven weeks we have discussed various topics from organizational culture to people management. We will revisit these topics to understand why people follow certain leaders, takeaways we can implement into action. At the end of today’s session, you will have a plan to implement over the next year to remember all you have learned in Emerging Leaders.